Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Hats

Post by Jenny

I wear hats more often during the summer. In the literal sense, I have hats for watching baseball, hats for gardening, hats for hanging out at the pool, and hats that I hope just look cute while keeping the sun off my freckles. I wear many figurative summer hats as well, including those of: chauffeur, chef/short order cook, referee, recreation director, park ranger, personal shopper, tour guide, nurse, arbitrator, dog walker, party planner, and banker.

And writer. I shouldn’t forget that one.

Actually, it’s easy to forget to put on my writer hat during the summer, partly because of general busy-ness and partly because I usually catch a pretty good case of the lazy school’s out vibe from my boys. This lack of scheduled writing time used to make me panic, and I would resign myself to eleven or so totally unproductive weeks.

But a couple of years ago, I noticed something: my writer brain does not take the summers off. It is always there, always observing, always piecing together random phrases and bits of dialogue. In fact, it is often busiest when I am not sitting down and telling it to write. It works in the quiet mornings before my boys wake up. It works as I’m pulling weeds, watering flowers, and waging my annual war on squash bugs. It works in the soft evening light as I’m waiting for a baseball game to start.

My writer brain also works when I am reading. I’m no different from most in that I like to have fun, exciting, engaging books on my summer reading list—good beach reads, or, more likely in my case, good ‘wish-I-was-at-the-beach’ reads. My writer brain reads them over my shoulder, telling me “oh, I like that,” or “no, I would have done that differently.”

In the generally unstructured days of summer, my writer brain and I find a balance. I try to give it fertile moments, and it gives me food for thought. I sneak away for some computer time, and it does not let me spend that time looking at Awkward Family Photos. And then, when school is back in session and I can start removing hats a la Bartholomew Cubbins, I find that my writer hat has been waiting patiently for me all along. And with any luck, it still fits.

Are you able to keep your writer hat on during the summer?


John Paul McKinney said...

Jenny, Yes, creativity seems to come at quiet moments, e.g., just waking up or having breakfast. Do you keep a notepad near by? Often my brilliant observations are gone twenty minutes later. Thanks for the great post.

Dean K Miller said...

All other hats must fit over, and accommodate the writer hat. Even my fave fly fishing hat allows my writer hat priority, even on the river.

Where it well, writer friends.

Maggie said...

My hats have changed many times over the years. Now that I'm retired, I find my writer hat fits nicely under all others, especially my comfy Grandma hat:)

Kerrie said...

As usual Jenny, another wonderful post. I agree that there are times (especially in the summer) when we aren't physically writing, but our writer brain is actively engaged.

Am I going to be able to keep my writing hat on this summer? I am going to have to. I have a novel due to my critique group by September 1st. I might have to duct tape it to my head, but it will be with me all the time. :-)

mare ball said...

I'm hoping to finish my book this summer. My kids are grown, so summer/school year terms don't affect me the way they used to. And I'm still visiting blogs from the A-Z challenge!

Jenny said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I'm glad you'll all be wearing your writer hats this summer. But Kerrie, duct tape + hair is a bad combination!

Carrie Lynne said...

Visiting from creepy query girl.

Wish that I had a head for hats.

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